Is there a link between gastroesophageal reflux disease and atrial fibrillation?

Jeffrey S. Kunz, Brian Hemann, J. Edwin Atwood, Jeffrey Jackson, Timothy Wu, Carolyn Hamm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies suggest a potential association between gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and atrial fibrillation. Objective: To explore the potential association between GERD and atrial fibrillation. Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study created from a database containing all health care encounters for patients who received ambulatory care in the National Capitol Area military health care system between January 1, 2001 and October 28, 2007. The study population included all subjects at least 18 years of age (n=163 627). Our primary outcomes of interest were International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) diagnoses of atrial fibrillation and GERD. Results: Among 163 627 patients, 7992 (5%) had atrial fibrillation and 47 845 (29%) had GERD. The presence of GERD increased the relative risk (RR) of a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (RR: 1.39, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.33-1.45). In sensitivity analyses, this relationship persisted after adjustment for cardiovascular disease risk factors (RR: 1.19, 95% CI: 1.13-1.25) and diagnoses known to be strongly associated with atrial fibrillation (RR: 1.08, 95% CI: 1.02-1.13). Conclusions: The presence of GERD is associated with an increased risk of a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-587
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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